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All posts by Jeremy Holmes

Great Summer Day

I remember it like it was yesterday. In June, I got to go camping with my best friend and some other girls from my college class. We had fires, made ice cream from scratch, went hiking and learned outside skills, and went kayaking around the lake. The last day of our trip was going to be special though. A special day with a special meal at the end, but it took a lot of planning and work to make it happen. But we did not mind, and the end result was amazing!

 

Campfire

 

We woke up hours before sunrise to start preparing for our activities. Afterwards, we cooked dinner the old fashioned way, slow roast filet mignons in the ground in a cast iron pan with rocks heated by the fire we built. Red potatoes were cooked in a pan that was placed on top of the steak pan. You might be asking yourself why we were eating filet mignons. Well, we all realized we loved a good steak before we made the trip, so we thought ‘why not?’. Usually you see men eating a lot of steak, but we all loved it too, and we always ordered one when we went out to eat.

 

Wildflowers On Bank

 

After preparing in the morning, we packed the cars and strapped the kayaks to the vehicles. We went to the river and once we got the Sun Dolphin Bali 10 SS kayaks in the water and our life vests were on, we were on our way. We kayaked 15 miles that day. Even though we were going pretty far, the day was full of laughter and innocence. We learned how to pack and unpack the kayaks, how to re-flip our kayaks after flipping, went swimming in the river next to wild flowers growing on the banks, saw two barn owls sleeping in a tree next to the river, and a doe and her faun grazing in a clearing of the forest off in the distance. It couldn`t have been a more magical day.

 

Cast Iron Steak Pan

 

On the way back to the camp, we decided which girls were going to do what when we got back. Two girls were going to finish the homemade ice cream that we were going to have for desert that night. The other girls were to completely set the table with plates, drinks, and all the food that would be coming shortly. We all helped put in the steak and sides on to cook, and while we waited, we had some drinks and laughed as we talked about almost everything.

When the food was done, we started with a fresh spring salad made of spinach, romaine lettuce, cherry tomatoes, ceasar croutons, and parmesan cheese. The sides were sweet corn on the cob with butter, three cheese mac and cheese, and last, but not least, the filet mignons. It was cooked medium rare, with that slight hint of pink in the center and that melt in your mouth texture. The Italian seasoning and garlic brought our taste buds to life. The night ended in full bellies and big smiles.

$162 Steak! See What It’s All About!

Sean Evans gets together with the Worth It guys to sample different priced steaks to see which was their favorite. In case you don’t know them, Sean interviews celebrities as they eat different levels of spicy wings, and the Worth It guys try different foods at various price points, mostly in Los Angeles.

Make Beef Jerky At Home!

What Is Beef Jerky?

 

Beef Jerky

 

As most of us already know, and as the name suggests, ‘jerky’ is strips of meat that are trimmed of fat, salted, then dried and preserved to snack on later. The salt used in this process prevents bacteria from inhabiting the meat, hence reducing the chances of food poisoning. The first step is always trimming off the fat before drying the meat, since it does not dry up and could lead to rancidity. This meat must be dried fast to prevent the bacteria from multiplying under these moist conditions.

For the process to be successful, the meats are stripped into skinny slices to increase the surface area for faster drying. The meat is then dried under low temperatures in an oven or dehydrator. However, overdrying would be a mistake, as the meat can get very tough. But before this, you need to place the beef strips in plastic bags with marinade to soak them for a few hours. And this brings us to the topic of what marinades we can use.

Marinades

 

Beef Jerky Marinades

 

The main reason for marination is to provide a more intense flavor, and to do so, you would have to use herbs and spices and other ingredients that add flavor to the beef. You need an acid to tenderise the meat, like lemon or lime juice (and in some cases, vinegar). You need a decent amount of salt, as well as oils that will be used to hold the pieces of lean meat together, and that will provide moisture to the meat. There are many different marinades you can buy at the store, but there are also some you can do at home to avoid any nasty chemicals, if that’s a concern for you. You can try whatever you think would work.

Jerky Prep

 

Dehydrator For Jerky

 

After removing the strips from the marinade, you can place them on aluminium foil on the oven racks and let them cook for about 3 hours at 170 degrees, subsequently turning the strips and allowing them to cook for another 3 hours. The approximate time for cooking depends on the size of the pieces. The bigger the dimensions, the more massive the amount of time used to cook and vice versa is true. Signs of meat being fully cooked is the meat ripping off quickly. On the other hand, overcooked meat will have signs of flaking and being too hard to chew. Some people use dehydrators because they are faster and cost less to operate, and they work quite well! The jerky is ready for storage once they are left out to cool for a while. There are different methods of storing the jerky, as discussed in the next paragraph.

Storage

 

Storage Jar

 

Jerky should be stored in the refrigerator in airtight containers. This kind of storage is to ensure that no air gets into the container, so as to prevent the beef from being oxidized. But for those who lack refrigerators, you could leave them in airtight plastic bags on dark shelves, like in the pantry, away from heat of any kind, for a period of not more than one month. When put in airtight containers in the fridge, the jerky can last for about a few months.

Processed beef jerky lasts between 1-2 years, but that’s because of possibly dangerous preservatives, so making them at home is the healthiest way to go. They may not last as long, but at least you know they can be flavored the way you want and will be more tender as well. Jerky is great to snack on from a meat lover’s perspective, but also a great low carb choice for someone on a diet!

Steak Buying Tips

Here are some useful tips when purchasing steaks, and also some general information to help guide you along the way. You must do your research on what’s involved in purchasing and cooking steaks in order to have the best experience. So here we go…

Grades

There are 3 grades given for different cuts of steak. One if ‘Prime’, which is the highest cut, top of the line steak. Prime grade steak is mostly sold to fine dining restaurants, so it’s harder to find in stores and is much more expensive than others, of course. Next is ‘Choice’, which is an average cut, not the highest and not the lowest. The lowest grade is ‘Select’, but despite being at the bottom, it is still well above the criteria for human consumption. Anything below that is used as by-products in other foods.

grades of steaks

Cuts

The best cuts are the Rib, Short Loin, Rib Eye, Roast, Top Loin, Tenderloin (Filet), T-Bone, and Porterhouse. Strip steaks are made from the T-Bone as well. Most of these steaks are very popular in restaurants and are very tender when cooked right. If you want to truly enjoy a steak, you need to get one of these cuts, but you will pay more. The tougher cuts are the chuck, round, and flank steaks, but they are cheaper. The picture below shows where all the cuts come from on the cow.

steak cuts

The tougher cuts are the chuck, round, and flank steaks. Chuck steak is located on the front of the cow and is often used in ground beef because of its flavor and fat-meat ratio. To get it more tender, it’s best for stews or slow cooking. Round steak is located at the rear of the cow and is often used to make jerky. It gets dry, so braising or some other slow heat with moisture is best for cooking it. And finally, flank steak is located on the underbelly toward the rear of the cow and is often used in fajitas. It can be cooked a number of ways, but it should be prepared with a meat tenderizer first.

Prices

The people who have the best steak eating experiences are the ones who can afford it, quite frankly. They can get very expensive, and the best ones cooked at restaurants cost $40 or more. Buying them at the store will still be a nice chunk of change, but not nearly as much as restaurants.

Tenderloin (filets) are the most expensive because they are the most tender cut of steaks. After that, in order of highest cost to lowest is: T-Bone/Porterhouse, Strip, Rib Eye, Top Sirloin, Prime Rib, Flank, Top Round, Brisket, Skirt, Chuck, and Tri-Tip.

cuts of steak

Going out to eat is nice, but if you know what you’re doing when it comes to cooking steaks, you can cook it well at home and pay much less. Videos will be loaded onto this site explaining how to cook each cut properly so you can learn, if you don’t already know.

Buying A Steak

When you’ve decided to cook your own steaks, there are tips you can use to pick the best cut, depending on what you’re using it for and how it’s cooked best. This will involve looking at the fat on the cut, the thickness, and feeling the tenderness of it.

Marbling is the fat running through the meat. If it is in thin strips, it will most likely be a tender cut, and thicker strips mean it will be tough. The lack of fat in a steak means it will be more tender, but will be less flavorful, so it needs more additions when you cook it, like a sauce or rub. In restaurants, they fry the filet mignon in butter to give it a more rich flavor because it lacks enough fat to produce much of its own flavor.

Remember to also use the grade system and be on the lookout for the best cuts. Also, a steak that says ‘Sirloin’ only might not be as good as Top Sirloin. If you’re making a stew, one of the cheaper cuts will work well, or the round roasts will do well in a crock pot because it’s being kept moist. Sometimes, though, the moisture can be lost by leaking out of the steak. So a good practice for that is to fry the outside of the roast before you put it in the crock pot, so that it stays nice and juicy. Enjoy your steak however it’s made!